United States District Court, District of Columbia
ROSEMARY M. COLLYER United States District Judge.
John Sweeney is incarcerated at the District of Columbia
Jail. He claims that on June 8, 2015, he was arrested on a
parole violator warrant issued by the United States Parole
Commission. In February 2016, Mr. Sweeney filed this action
for a writ of habeas corpus because the Commission had not
held a hearing on the warrant since his arrest. In response
to the Court’s order to show cause why the writ should
not issue, the Commission has established that its violator
warrant has not been executed to trigger the hearing
requirement. Since the Commission has disproved Mr.
Sweeney’s premise, the petition will be denied for the
reasons explained below.
April 2010, Mr. Sweeney was convicted in Superior Court of
the District of Columbia for assault with intent to commit a
robbery and related weapons offenses. He was sentenced on
June 21, 2010, to an aggregate prison term of 72 months,
followed by three years of supervised release. On April 2,
2015, while on supervised release, Mr. Sweeney was arrested
and charged in Superior Court with four counts of unlawful
possession of weapons and ammunition and one count of
second-degree cruelty to children. On April 20, 2015, Mr.
Sweeney was released to a high intensity supervision program
pending trial. On June 8, 2015, following a felony status
conference, the Superior Court issued an order committing Mr.
Sweeney to the D.C. Jail pending disposition.
Commission issued its violator warrant on May 7, 2015, based
on the new criminal charges. It instructed the U.S. Marshal
not to execute the warrant if the subject was already in the
custody of a federal, state or local authority. Because the
U.S. Marshal failed to execute the Commission’s warrant
before Mr. Sweeney was detained on the Superior Court’s
commitment order, the Commission’s warrant has been
lodged with the District of Columbia as a detainer, and Mr.
Sweeney “has been incarcerated since June 8, 2015
pursuant to the Superior Court commitment order.”
United States Parole Comm’n’s Opp’n at 2
[Dkt. 9]; accord Warden William Smith’s
Response at 2 [Dkt. 14-1]. The Superior Court has scheduled a
jury trial on June 15, 2016, in District of Columbia v.
Sweeney, 2015 CF2 004535.
of Columbia prisoners are entitled to habeas corpus relief if
they establish that their “custody [is] in violation of
the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United
States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Mr. Sweeney
contends that the Commission’s failure to hold a
hearing on the violator warrant has deprived him of due
process. The Commission counters correctly that because the
violator warrant has not been executed by Mr. Sweeney’s
arrest, the due process clause is not triggered.
Court of Appeals instructs that “the mere issuance of a
parole violator warrant works no present deprivation of
protected liberty sufficient to invoke due process
protection.” Howard v. Caufield, 765 F.3d 1,
10 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (quoting Moody v. Daggett, 429
U.S. 78, 85 (1976)). Thus, the “Commission . . . has no
constitutional duty to provide [a parolee] an adversary
parole hearing until he is taken into custody as a parole
violator by execution of the warrant.” Id.
(quoting Moody, 429 U.S. at 89) (alterations in
original). See United States v. Stewart, ___ F.Supp.
3d ___, ___, 2015 WL 8664183, at *4 (D.D.C. Dec. 11, 2015)
(“Detention following the [violator] warrant’s
execution is what implicates the defendant’s protected
liberty interest under the Due Process Clause.”);
Munn Bey v. U.S. Parole Comm’n, 824 F.Supp.2d
144, 146 (D.D.C. 2011) (finding the right to a hearing
“triggered after the parole violator warrant is
executed, not when it is lodged, and when the defendant is
taken into custody under that warrant, not any other criminal
warrant”) (citing Moody, 429 U.S. at 87).
Similarly, the right to a probable cause hearing within five
days of an arrest is triggered when “a parolee . . . is
retaken and held in custody in the District of Columbia on a
warrant issued by the Commission.” 28 C.F.R. §
supplemental pleading [Dkt. 10], Mr. Sweeney seems to
attribute the Commission’s warrant to the decision of
the Superior Court to commit him to the D.C. Jail pending
trial. Even if true, that fact alone is immaterial to the
habeas analysis since the warrant has not been executed. The
due process clause does not require that a violator warrant
issued against a D.C. Code offender be executed,
Howard, 765 F.3d at 10, let alone executed
“before a defendant completes an intervening
sentence” or a court disposes of the underlying
criminal case, Stewart, ___ F.Supp. 3d at ___, 2015
WL 8664183, at *5 (citing cases). And until the
Commission’s violator warrant is executed, Mr. Sweeney
has no constitutional or statutory right to be heard on it.
Accordingly, his petition for a writ of habeas corpus is
denied. A separate order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
 “Supervised release is
functionally equivalent to parole, and the law pertaining to
parole is applicable in this context.”
McCleod v. U.S. Parole Comm’n, 74 F.Supp. 3d